Study abroad for a semester in

South Korea

South Korea, a dynamic country on the cutting edge of technology and innovation, offers a vibrant blend of ancient traditions and modern lifestyle. Imagine immersing yourself in bustling cities like Seoul, where towering skyscrapers stand alongside serene temples, or exploring the picturesque countryside dotted with historic landmarks. South Korea is not just a place to study; itโ€™s an adventure waiting to unfold. With its top-notch universities, vibrant cultural scene, and hospitable locals, studying in South Korea promises to be an exhilarating and enriching experience. The countryโ€™s universities are known for their high academic standards and state-of-the-art facilities, providing an environment that fosters both intellectual growth and personal development.

South Korea is best known for

Technological Innovation ๐Ÿ’ป: South Korea is a global leader in technology and innovation, home to tech giants like Samsung and LG, offering students an exciting environment to study and work with cutting-edge technology.

Rich Cultural Heritage ๐ŸŽŽ: From ancient palaces and temples to vibrant festivals and K-pop, South Koreaโ€™s cultural scene is incredibly diverse and fascinating, providing a unique blend of old and new.

High-Quality Education ๐Ÿ“˜: South Korean universities are renowned for their rigorous academic standards and exceptional research opportunities, making it an ideal destination for ambitious students.

Table of contents

1. Visa and Health Insurance ๐Ÿ›‚

Embarking on your educational journey to South Korea requires securing the appropriate visa and health insurance. These crucial steps ensure that you comply with legal requirements and have access to necessary healthcare services throughout your stay. Proper documentation and insurance coverage are vital for a smooth and safe study abroad experience.

Visa Types

  • D-2 Student Visa: The D-2 Student Visa is designed for international students enrolling in degree programs at universities in South Korea, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. This visa is essential for students planning to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days.
  • D-4 General Training Visa: The D-4 General Training Visa is for students attending non-degree programs such as language courses, technical training, or short-term study programs in South Korea.

Application Process

Applying for a student visa in South Korea is a detailed but straightforward process. Once youโ€™ve secured admission to a Korean university or language school, you will receive a Certificate of Admission, which is essential for your visa application.

  1. Apply to Korean Institutions: Gain acceptance to an accredited institution in South Korea.
  2. Receive Certificate of Admission: Your institution will provide you with a Certificate of Admission, necessary for your visa application.
  3. Prepare Documents: Gather the required documents, including your passport, Certificate of Admission, proof of financial means, and health insurance coverage.
  4. Complete Visa Application: Fill out the student visa application form at the South Korean consulate or embassy in your home country.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: Pay the required application fee for the student visa.
  6. Submit Application: Submit your application along with the required documents.
  7. Wait for Processing: Visa processing times can vary, so apply well in advance.

Required Documents

  • Proof of Enrollment: Certificate of Admission from a South Korean university.
  • Financial Proof: Bank statements or proof of financial support showing sufficient funds (approximately USD 10,000 per year).
  • Passport: Valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in South Korea.
  • Visa Application Form: Completed and submitted at the consulate or embassy.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of valid health insurance coverage.
  • Passport Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Academic Documents: Transcripts, diplomas, and certificates from previous education.

Application Timeline

Start Early: Begin the application process at least 3-6 months before your intended departure.
Processing Time: Visa processing can take several weeks to months, depending on the country and application volume.
Important Deadlines: Be mindful of university application deadlines and ensure your visa application is timely.

Tips for Success

Complete Documentation: Ensure all your documents are complete and accurately filled out.
Financial Proof: Clearly demonstrate financial stability and sufficient funds.
Health Insurance: Secure a visa-compliant health insurance plan early in the process.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in South Korea. It ensures that students have access to medical care and covers a wide range of health services, from regular doctor visits to emergency care.

Types of Health Insurance

  • National Health Insurance (NHI): Provided by the Korean government, this comprehensive plan is available to all students, offering extensive coverage for medical services.
    • Cost: Approximately KRW 50,000 – KRW 100,000 per month.
    • Advantages: Extensive coverage for medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescriptions.
    • Limitations: Limited to services within South Korea, and coverage may vary depending on the institution.
  • University-Sponsored Health Insurance: Many universities offer additional health insurance plans for their students.
    • Cost: Varies by university, typically between KRW 100,000 and KRW 300,000 per year.
    • Advantages: Convenient enrollment and comprehensive coverage.
    • Limitations: Coverage may be limited to university-affiliated hospitals and clinics.
  • Private Health Insurance: Some students opt for private health insurance to supplement public coverage.
    • Cost: Varies based on the provider and plan. IMG offers competitive and comprehensive plans.
    • Advantages: More extensive coverage, faster access to services, and flexibility in choosing healthcare providers.
    • Limitations: Generally more expensive than relying solely on public or university insurance.

Country-Specific Requirements

NHI Registration: Upon arrival in South Korea, students must register for National Health Insurance at their local National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) office. This registration is crucial for receiving comprehensive healthcare coverage.
Private Health Insurance: Must meet the minimum coverage requirements set by South Korean authorities. Private plans often provide quicker access to healthcare services and more flexibility in choosing providers.

Finding the Best Health Insurance

wearefreemovers has developed a partnership with IMG with the intent of offering you reliable and visa-compliant health insurance for your stay in South Korea.

Choose IMG

IMG is our suggested visa-compliant health insurance for South Korea

Or discover other insurance options

Thanks to our Insurance Finder


What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. Address the issues mentioned and reapply, or appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect. Review the reasons for denial carefully and seek guidance from the embassy or consulate if needed.

Can I change my health insurance plan after arriving in South Korea?
Yes, you can change your health insurance plan after arriving in South Korea. Ensure the new plan meets the mandatory health insurance requirements for students. Compare different plans to choose one that offers comprehensive coverage and suits your needs.

What should I do if I need medical care and don’t have insurance?
If you require medical care and donโ€™t have insurance, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all medical services, which can be very expensive. Itโ€™s highly recommended to have valid health insurance to avoid these costs. If you find yourself without insurance, contact a health insurance provider immediately to enroll in a plan.

Additional Resources

Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Provides comprehensive information for foreigners looking to study in South Korea, including visa requirements, application procedures, and living in South Korea.
Study in Korea: Offers detailed information on studying in South Korea, including available programs, scholarships, and practical advice for international students.

2. Cost of Living ๐Ÿ’ฐ

South Korea offers a vibrant lifestyle that can cater to both budget-conscious students and those looking for a bit of luxury. Understanding the cost of living in South Korea is essential for effective budgeting and financial planning. While Seoul is known for its dynamic city life, other cities like Busan and Daegu provide a more affordable but equally enriching experience.

Detailed Breakdown of Living Expenses

Accommodation: Monthly rent varies widely based on location and type of housing.
KRW 500,000 – KRW 2,000,000/month
Food: From groceries to dining out, here’s what to expect.
KRW 400,000 – KRW 900,000/month
Transportation: Getting around South Korea is both efficient and affordable.
KRW 50,000 – KRW 100,000/month
Utilities: Essential services like electricity, water, and internet.
KRW 100,000 – KRW 200,000/month
Entertainment and Leisure: Enjoying South Koreaโ€™s vibrant social scene.
KRW 100,000 – KRW 300,000/month
Miscellaneous Expenses: Personal items and services.
KRW 100,000 – KRW 200,000/month

3. Accommodation Options ๐Ÿ 

Finding the perfect place to live is a key part of your study abroad experience. South Korea offers a range of housing options that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of international students. Whether you prefer the vibrant city life of Seoul or the more laid-back atmosphere of smaller cities, thereโ€™s something for everyone.

Types of Accommodation

Student Dorms (๊ธฐ์ˆ™์‚ฌ): Many universities offer on-campus dormitories, which provide convenience and a sense of community. Dorms are typically furnished and come with basic amenities.
Price: KRW 300,000 – KRW 700,000/month
Goshiwon (๊ณ ์‹œ์›): Small, affordable private rooms that are popular among students for short-term stays. They usually include basic furniture and shared facilities.
Price: KRW 200,000 – KRW 500,000/month
Shared Apartments (์‰์–ดํ•˜์šฐ์Šค): Sharing an apartment with other students is a popular and cost-effective choice. This option allows for greater independence while still being economical.
Price: KRW 500,000 – KRW 1,000,000/month
Private Apartments (์›๋ฃธ): Renting your own place offers privacy and independence. This option is ideal for students who prefer more space and freedom.
Price: KRW 1,000,000 – KRW 2,000,000/month
Homestays (ํ™ˆ์Šคํ…Œ์ด): Living with a local family can provide a deeper cultural immersion and a supportive home environment. This option can be particularly beneficial for improving language skills and understanding local customs.
Price: KRW 600,000 – KRW 1,000,000/month

Find accommodation in South Korea

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Tips and Resources

Start Early: Begin your search well in advance to secure the best options and avoid last-minute hassles.
Budget Wisely: When planning your budget, include utilities and internet costs.
Consider Location: Choose accommodation that is conveniently located near your university, public transportation, and local amenities.
Use Reliable Platforms: Book through reputable platforms to avoid scams and ensure quality accommodations. The options on wearefreemovers have been preselected by us, offering you greater peace of mind.

4. University Information ๐ŸŽ“

Choosing the right university is a pivotal part of your study abroad journey. South Korea is home to a variety of universities that offer diverse academic programs and a vibrant student life, all within a culturally rich environment.

Find universities in South Korea

Try our University Finder and discover the best universities for your needs

5. Further Practical Information ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ


South Koreaโ€™s transportation network is modern and efficient, making it easy to explore the country and commute to university.

Public Transportation ๐Ÿš†: Major cities like Seoul and Busan have extensive public transport systems, including buses, subways, and trains. Monthly passes range from KRW 50,000 to KRW 70,000, with student discounts often available. Seoul’s subway system is especially comprehensive and user-friendly.

Bicycles ๐Ÿšด: Many South Korean cities are bike-friendly, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Cycling is an excellent way to navigate certain areas, especially during the cooler months.

Long-Distance Travel ๐Ÿš: The KTX high-speed train system connects major cities and towns, offering a convenient way to travel across the country. For longer distances, domestic flights are available and relatively affordable.

Tips ๐Ÿ’ก: Always check for student discounts on transportation passes. For intercity travel, booking train or flight tickets in advance can secure the best rates.

Banking and Finances

Managing your finances effectively is crucial for a smooth study abroad experience.

Opening a Bank Account ๐Ÿฆ: Most banks in South Korea offer special accounts for students with low or no fees. Popular banks include KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, and Woori Bank.

Documents Required ๐Ÿ“‘: To open a bank account, you will typically need your passport, proof of enrollment, and a local address.

Currency ๐Ÿ’ต: The currency in South Korea is the South Korean Won (KRW). Having a local bank account helps avoid foreign transaction fees and simplifies everyday transactions.

Tips ๐Ÿ’ก: Look for student-friendly bank accounts and make use of online banking apps to manage your finances efficiently. Consider using services like for seamless international transactions.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Understanding local customs and social norms will help you integrate smoothly into South Korean society.

Punctuality โฐ: Punctuality is highly valued in South Korea. Arriving on time for classes, meetings, and social events is expected.

Greetings ๐Ÿค: A common greeting in South Korea includes a polite bow, often accompanied by a handshake. In more casual settings, a simple โ€œAnnyeonghaseyoโ€ is appropriate.

Mealtimes ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ: South Korean mealtimes are usually social events, with lunch around 12-1 PM and dinner around 6-8 PM. Sharing food and hospitality is common, and tipping is not customary in South Korea.

Public Behavior ๐Ÿคซ: South Koreans value politeness and respect in public spaces. Being loud or disruptive is generally frowned upon, especially on public transportation and in residential areas.

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